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17 in hospital, nearly 100 evacuated after acid leak
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A hydrochloric acid spill has affected 17 people and forced the evacuation of more than 90 others in a village in the country's northeast, local authorities said on Thursday.

More than 10 tonnes of the chemical leaked after one of three huge hydrochloric acid pools in the suburb of Siping City, Jilin Province, collapsed at about 6 PM on Wednesday. Some of the acid diffused into the air and affected villagers in Sandaolinzi village.

Firefighters evacuated more than 90 villagers to the windward side of the spill by evening. Seventeen people, aged from two to 60, who suffered abdominal pains and headaches were sent to hospital.

By Thursday seven people remained in hospital, suffering vomiting and breathing problems. None of their lives were in danger, doctors said. All the evacuated have returned home.

More than 10 tonnes of alkali and some 600 tonnes of water were used to neutralize and dilute the spill, said firefighters.

The local environment supervision administration is conducting air quality and underground water pollution tests.

Police have detained the person who illegally rent the three poorly constructed pools.

(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2008)

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